Just like adobo, bistek, or Filipino beef steak, is one of my family’s comfort foods and favorites and no one complains if I cook it more than once a week. The best bistek is made with thin slices of prime cut of beef (tenderloin, sirloin, top round or bottom round), marinated in a mixture of kamalansi juice and soy sauce, pan fried and garnished with onion slices. Simple enough if you get good quality meat. And there’s the rub right there. It’s just so hard to get good quality meat these days what with market vendors often passing off carabao meat as beef. Even if sliced paper thin (and market vendors often do a haphazard job of cutting meat thinly), carabao meat will still turn out tough as the sole of a leather boot unless cooked for hours and hours.
Above, bistek cooked the traditional way.
So what I do these days is to use supermarket-bought sukiyaki cut meat for my bistek. Sliced very thinly (the meat is chilled then machine-sliced), you can see right away from the color of the meat and the density of the fat if it’s real beef. And I made a wonderful discovery last Saturday. In Unimart, they sell sukiyaki-cut beef, pork and lamb. I bought a tray of each, imagining all that dishes that I’d make with them, and happy in the knowledge that cooking for the next several days would only take a short time because sukiyaki-cut meat cooks in minutes.
Yesterday morning, I cooked bistek in 10 minutes and that includes preparation time. Some of it went into Alex’s school lunch box, the rest was breakfast.
The recipe is no different (get the bistek recipe) except that you can skip the marinating part. And because the beef will brown in just a few minutes, the cooking time is really, really short.
If you’re serving bistek for breakfast, you can serve it with pan de sal (yes, bistek makes a great sandwich filling!) or with rice and egg.